Whether hepatitis resolves depends on the type and whether a person receives treatment. Hepatitis A usually resolves without medications, and while sometimes hepatitis B and C may last only a few weeks, other times, they become serious lifelong infections.
There is no cure for hepatitis B, but treatment can help reduce the risk of liver damage and cancer. However, hepatitis C has a high cure rate with treatment.
Sometimes, when a person has hepatitis C, the body can spontaneously clear the virus.
Some prevention methods involve getting the vaccine for hepatitis A and B and avoiding behaviors that increase the risk of contracting the infections.
Rarely, someone may have other types of hepatitis, such as hepatitis D, E, and G. These types tend to be more prevalent in other parts of the world than in the United States.
This article discusses more common types of hepatitis, including whether it goes away, treatment, and prevention. It also answers questions that people commonly ask.
Hepatitis refers to liver inflammation. The liver is an important organ that filters blood, processes nutrients, and fights infections. If the liver has inflammation or damage, it can affect its function.
Infections with hepatitis can be acute, meaning short term, or chronic, meaning long term.
Some cases go away on their own, while others require treatment for the viral infection to resolve. The
However, other cases do not go away, even with treatment.
Learn more about viral hepatitis.
Treatment depends on the type of hepatitis.
Treatment for hepatitis A does not involve medications. Instead, it consists of supportive measures to reduce symptoms, such as:
Hepatitis B may be acute or chronic. The treatment for acute infection
In contrast, antiviral drugs are available to treat chronic hepatitis B, but all people with the condition may not need treatment.
Doctors prescribe treatment if a person has detectable levels of the hepatitis B virus in the blood and evidence of liver damage. It is important to note that treatment does not cure the infection but may stop the virus from multiplying and causing liver damage or cancer.
Treatment involves oral antiviral medications, such as tenofovir (Viread) or entecavir (Baraclude), which help kill the virus. In rare cases, treatment may include injecting an interferon-type drug, which boosts the immune system and helps the body fight infection.
Hepatitis C can also be acute or chronic, but
Treatment entails one or more newer direct-acting antiviral medications, such as sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) or grazoprevir (Zepatier).
Doctors sometimes prescribe older hepatitis C medications as well. An example is ribavirin (Copegus, Rebetol, Ribasphere).
Prevention varies according to the type of hepatitis.
Learn more about the hepatitis A vaccine.
As with hepatitis A, vaccination is effective in preventing hepatitis B.
Other prevention measures include:
- using suitable barrier methods when having sex
- avoiding direct contact with blood or body fluids
- refraining from the use of recreational drugs
- ensuring that needles for ear piercing or acupuncture are sterile
- avoiding sharing personal items, such as toothbrushes and razors
Learn more about the hepatitis B vaccine.
Learn more about how hepatitis C spreads.
Below are answers to common questions regarding hepatitis.
How long does hepatitis last without treatment?
Hepatitis A can last from a
Acute hepatitis B may be short term, lasting a few weeks, but chronic hepatitis is a long-term condition that can lead to death.
Are all hepatitis types permanent?
Hepatitis A is not permanent, but in some cases, hepatitis B is permanent.
Can you completely get rid of hepatitis?
Some cases of acute hepatitis B and hepatitis C go away after a
Hepatitis A usually resolves without medications, and
Treatment for hepatitis A and acute hepatitis B tends to involve only supportive measures, such as rest. Antiviral treatment is available for chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
Vaccination prevents hepatitis A and B, but no vaccine is available for hepatitis C. Other means of prevention involve avoiding behaviors that increase the risk of contracting the virus. These behaviors include having sex without using a barrier method and using recreational drugs.